When I came to LA from NY about 30 years ago (did I actually admit to that?),
I was a working actress and model. Hollywood was good for me and I began to get work
right away. At the same time, I met an actor/bartender whom I began to
casually date. But he had other ideas and soon we were married. So, career
gave way to 25 years of marriage and three awesome kids.
Flash forward, way forward, and I'm happily on my own again, now as a producer. Most of the projects I have been involved with are studio fare -- you know, big budgets,
high concepts and A-list talent attachments. The last thing I ever expected
to wind up doing was becoming part of the creative and marketing team behind a
tiny indie movie attempting to invent a business model for monetizing films
on the Internet. And it all started for me with a splash -- literally. Let
Last October, a clip of a clumsy best man, knocking his bride and the priest
into the pool during the wedding ring exchange, was released on YouTube.
That clip spread like wildfire, becoming an Internet sensation.
The clip was also featured on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, The Today Show and Good
Morning America among others. Just another viral video flavor of the month
you say? Not exactly. It's actually a scene from Chloe and Keith's Wedding, a
film written and directed by Archie Gips, produced by Dennis Anderson, and
executive produced by me.
I first recognized the uniqueness of the project when I read Archie's
script. It was a charming romantic comedy with edge and interesting
characters, but more importantly it was the way that it was going to be shot
that really excited me. It would have the look and feel of documentary-style
found footage from a wedding -- essentially a rom-com Blair Witch. The entire
film tells the story of Jordan (the clumsy best man) as he reconnects with
his ex-love Sarah at the wedding of Chloe and Keith. Everything in this
wedding video would be captured by the footage shot by the videographer
and the flip-cameras of other guests at the wedding.
The YouTube pool scene, which was shot at my home along with the rest of the
film, was our clever way to circumvent the costs of bringing an independent
film to the attention of viewers. As Archie, Dennis and I discussed at the
onset of production, since this was to be an ultra-low-budget film, we
certainly couldn't market it traditionally. We had to get creative. The
viral video in essence was to serve as a trailer for our movie. And it
worked! All told, 70 million Internet and TV viewers worldwide have seen the
clip. That number is still staggering to me. Of course, when the video took
off, our distribution plans took a sharp left turn.
Indeed, the success of the clip online convinced us to bypass film festivals
and traditional distribution. Instead we chose to digitally distribute the
movie on our own website, hosted by the bride and groom,
complete with wedding videos and photos and blogs from the couple. This is
when Archie, Dennis and I went from being not just indie filmmakers but
indie marketers, indie distributors and our own mini indie studio as well.
The Internet is still the Wild West when it comes to trying to monetize
content. Finding branded integration for both the movie and website was as
important as making a quality film. We had to do it all.
Of course, not everyone appreciated our inventive marketing approach. With
the disclosure that our bride and groom and their wedding story was pure
fiction there were some disgruntled bloggers, but mostly, people are
watching, downloading and enjoying our film, and that means we've done
something more than right. Personally for me, I am thrilled for the
experience of getting to know and working with Archie and Dennis. We are
already working on developing and producing more projects together
using both traditional distribution and our own online self distribution
method that we continue to shape and create. I'm loving it all!
I wouldn't be doing my job as a producer/marketer/distributor if I didn't
mention that you should check out our movie at
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